Why creating new education environments is not always enough

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In the past few months, I have visited many schools and colleges that have reinvented their education spaces. Be that classrooms, lecture halls or what I like to call “in between spaces”, so hallways or underused real estate in some instances. I am impressed at the level of intentional design within these spaces. Many leaders are recognizing the benefit of designing learning environments that are indeed collaborative, flexible and allow for various modes of learning. Within any school or college there is the need for a range of spaces and that is what we are gradually seeing globally. But to create real change in a learning environment, changing the physical space is not always enough, it needs to be coupled with educator training. We recently worked with a teacher training college in Northern Israel (Ohalo Academic college) who pride themselves on “developing teaching and learning pedagogies for the 21st century, challenging the established norm with the view to educate today’s children more effectively.” The agreement with this college was not only to provide them with classroom solutions but also provide their instructors with webinar training, site visit training and a tour to other facilities globally to see how other educators were using the solutions. The result has shown a high adoption rate to the new environments and in turn more effective teaching. I often read of education leaders complaining about instructors leaving technology or other furniture solutions that were purchased for them to then gather dust at the back of the class. Sometimes, I can’t help but think this is understandable. Achieving successful learning environments is twofold; first create a collaborative, flexible, engaging learning space and then showcase the different ways that it can be used.

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